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Arkansas' Appeal of Pro-Gay Marriage Ruling In Jeopardy Over An Unpaid $505 Legal Fee

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07b5002e970d-800wiThe state of Arkansas found itself in the hot-seat on Monday with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals over its failure to pay a $505 docket fee required for its appeal of a federal judge's November 2014 ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage to move forward. As the AP reports, the 8th Circuit threatened to dismiss the state's appeal but ultimately gave the state two additional weeks to "demonstrate why its appeal shouldn't be dropped":

The appeals court notified the state Jan. 7 that the money was due last Wednesday. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge replaced Dustin McDaniel on Jan. 13. Her office blamed clerical errors made before she took over and said that the appeal would proceed.

"It's not in jeopardy," Rutledge spokesman Judd Deere said. "The fee will be paid."

McDaniel said Monday evening that he was not aware the state had missed the payment. He said the docketing fee wasn't among topics he and Rutledge discussed during the transition. He said that fee payments would have been a routine task handled by other attorneys in the office.

Advocates for same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry in Arkansas are not discounting the technicality:

Jack Wagoner, an attorney representing same-sex couples, said that the state's appeal is a waste of taxpayers' money — but that he would take any form of victory.

"A win is a win," Wagoner said. "I don't care if it's on technicality or in a close opinion or whatever."


8th Circuit Court of Appeals Expedites Missouri Same-Sex Marriage Case, Won't Lift Stay of Federal Judge's Ruling

8While we wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the four cases challenging same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has expedited its review of a federal judge's ruling that struck down Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage. The 8th Circuit would not lift the stay of the judge's ruling but also would not stay the appeal. 

The state of Missouri appealed the pro-equality ruling in early December of last year.

Read the court's order, which includes the expedited schedule, courtesy of Equality Case Files, below:

14-3779 Order by Equality Case Files


Marriage at the Supreme Court 2.0: Framing the Debate

Scotus

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

This article is one in a multipart series leading up to a future Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. The Court has granted review of four marriage cases from the Sixth Circuit and a decision may be handed down at the end of June. Between now and then, Towleroad will break down the cases step by step. Today's topic: The Questions Presented.

Let's start at the very beginning. When the Supreme Court agreed to hear four marriage equality cases out of the Sixth Circuit, it issued an order that included two legal questions for the parties to answer. 

1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

2. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state?

These are called "questions presented," and they frame the discussion in the parties' briefs and at oral argument. Petitions for writs of certioari at the Court have to include questions presented: they are the hooks that tell the justices that there is a live legal question of great importance that they must address. That said, the justices can adopt these questions, alter them, add or subtract from them, or deviate from them in any way.

This has led to quite a bit of chatter about what these particular questions mean for the argument. Adam Liptak of the New York Times suggested that the Court included Question 2 as a way to avoid a broad, nationwide pro-equality holding. It's a neat conjecture, one that is sure to keep the press abuzz. However, there are exactly zero reasons to believe Mr. Liptak is correct. Nothing nefarious or sneaky is going on. The Court is ready to rule on the freedom to marry. This is evident both from the questions presented and the Court's actions over the last several months.

I explain, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Marriage at the Supreme Court 2.0: Framing the Debate" »


Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to Appeal Gay Marriage Ruling to Eleventh Circuit

StrangeAlabama Attorney General Luther Strange has filed a notice of appeal to the Eleventh Circuit regarding last week's federal ruling that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. 

Yesterday, we reported that U.S. District Judge Callie V. Granade placed a 14-day stay on her ruling to allow Strange to present his arguments to the Eleventh Circuit. 

Said Strange in a statement:

"Judge Granade’s decision to grant a stay of her January 23, 2015, ruling concerning Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages is a step in the right direction. While I would have preferred a longer stay to allow the matter to be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling in June, the 14-day stay allows more time for my office to prepare our stay request to the 11th Circuit Court while also affording the public time to resolve the confusion over the impact of the recent ruling.” 

A similar request by Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi last month was shot down by a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit. If the court fails to act during the 14-day period, the stay will be lifted February 9th. 

Read the notice below via Equality Case Files:

1:14-cv-00208 #60 Notice of Appeal by Equality Case Files


Irish Government to Ban Religious-Run Schools and Hospitals From Discriminating Against Gays: VIDEO

 employment-law-will-ban-discrimination-against-gay-teachers-in-ireland

Ireland’s Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (below right) has confirmed that religious-run schools and hospitals will by Easter be prevented from firing staff for being gay, divorced or an unmarried parent, reports The Examiner.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6dd61ae970b-800wiMoves to change the discriminatory law were announced by the Irish government last June.

According to Ó Ríordáin, as the law currently stands gay teachers can be fired under Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act.

The minister told The Examiner:

“They can be sacked, technically, if a board manager felt that someone was actively undermining the ethos of their school by their private life.

“It has a chilling effect when people feel they can’t be themselves. In the staff room they have to hide their private lives; they have to hide the fact that they’re gay, or that they are divorced, or in a second relationship, or that they’re an unmarried parent.”

He also accused former Justice Minister Alan Shatter of dragging his feet over the reform when he was in office.

However, opposition senator Averil Power, whose 2012 bill to ban discrimination under Section 37 was blocked by Government, said:

“I’ll believe it when I see it. The Bill that Labour brought out last year kept in discrimination - it just moved the onus on to employers to be able to justify that discrimination.”

VaradkarAiming to end another discriminatory practice, Health Minister Leo Varadkar, who last week came out as gay, has since referred recommendations to revise restrictions on gay men donating blood. Varadkar is the first openly gay cabinet member in Irish government history.

Listen to Varadkar coming out on live radio, AFTER THE JUMP...

Ireland will hold a referendum on same-sex marriage in May.

Continue reading "Irish Government to Ban Religious-Run Schools and Hospitals From Discriminating Against Gays: VIDEO" »


Gay Marriage News Watch: AL, AR, FL, SC, OK, Obama, Huckabee - VIDEO

Afer

AFER's Matt Baume reports on the marriage showdown in Alabama (update here), Obama's SOTU marriage equality shout-out, new polling numbers on anti-equality candidates, Mike Huckabee's bold claim that states can ignore SCOTUS, and more.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Marriage News Watch: AL, AR, FL, SC, OK, Obama, Huckabee - VIDEO" »


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